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Re: Musical abilities are among the last to be lost in cases of brain damage?
Well, Tom, I am sorry to say but the classic view by which non-fluent
aphasics can sing words they cannot produce otherwise is a myth. When
carefully tested, non-fluent aphasics produce as few words in singing and
speaking. In 3 studies (Cohen & Ford, 1985; Hébert et al. Brain 2003;
Peretz et al. Music Perception, 2004), the results indicate that verbal
production, be it sung or spoken, is mediated by the same (impaired)
language output system and that this speech route is distinct from the
(spared) melodic route. Thus, the classic reports that non-fluent aphasic
patients are able to sing, may simply reflect the dissociation between
automatic speech (in singing) and propositional speech, such as in
spontaneous speech. However, it is true that aphasics enjoy singing much
more than speaking.